Friday, April 15, 2011

Obstacles to the stylish me (Absolute rant)

I met a woman recently that made me see things in a different light. Her name is Lucy Barrett and she is a style expert. She was invited at the Parent support group monthly meeting. She talked a lot about style and color coordination. Listening to her demonstrate her talent was amazing. Usually many women leave the meeting earlier to go do other things. But on the day she came, everyone stayed to listen to her for an entire hour. She is offering her services for a fee but also for helping kids of the 3rd world with cleft palates.

During the talk, Ms Barrett said some few things that I already knew but ignored. She said that most (if not all) women use only 20% of their wardrobe. All the women at the meeting were nodding in approval. She also added that we should all go home and check our closets. If there is an item there we bought and have not worn in 5 years, we should get rid of it because chances are we will never wear it. Listening to her made me go back to the times when I would avidly watch TLC's what not to wear or Bravo's Tim Gunn's Guide to style.

I did not immediately go inside my closet to do a massive cleaning like some other lady friends did. But I was thinking. I am always wearing the same thing. I call it my mommy outfit. It consists of a pair of jeans (right now my skinnies), a loose top (add a sweater and coat for winter), flats shoes when it is warm and UGG inspired boots for the cold weather. Even on weekends, it is the same outfit but with more accessories. Sometimes I make an effort, but other time I just cannot be bothered.
I have some excuses to wear the same outfit. I have two kids under 4 and I am the main caregiver. I take my older son to school, and go pick him up. The school is not far from my place. But I live up on a hill that I need to climb using stairs.

                                                               I take either these stairs or....
                                                 

climb this hill to go to my place, then I have...



                                                                             ...one hill....


...after another...


On top of it, I carry my baby on my back with an ergo carrier because using the stroller is almost impossible. ( I try some days but always arrive home exhausted)



                                       Ergo carrier- not the most flattering look out there but very useful.


                                  Imagine carrying a 14kg baby plus two bags of groceries through those hills.



Not my usual outfit her. But a mom's outfit nonetheless. I did try to switch it up a bit because it is Spring.

Therefore, it is kind of hard to dress up. I do not see myself wearing heels to go down or up those hills. And the carrier limited the outfits I can wear.
Obviously these are just excuses. I know some ladies who brace the hill with super high heels. And I know some mothers at school with 4 kids who are so stylish, it makes me cry: perfect hair, perfect make up, perfect and ironed clothes. I try to convince myself that she lives 3mns walk from the school (and no hills) and among her 4 kids, two are teenagers. Therefore she may be less busy than I am in the morning.
The truth is that I just cannot be bothered. I am not one of those women you will see pushing a stroller in perfect slacks, high heeled shoes and manicured hands. I am not one of those women who will have a perfect make up at 7 in the morning. My mother taught me in vain to take care of myself and my appearance. And I grew up among women so I should know, right? In fact, I am a tomboy who like to be among the boys. I am surrounded by boys in my own household. So I just stopped making an effort. When I was single and had my best friend (who is so stylish) around, I was making an effort, encouraged by her. However, since she moved away, I just gave up.
A woman should never give up on how she looks. I know that. But I just did.

I am telling myself time and time again that I will get into it once the kids are older, just like I am telling myself that I will get a winter white coat when they can eat without making a mess. But I should not wait for them to grow up to enjoy grooming myself. I should enjoy it and work on it. I may never be the slender model I dream of becoming or the most stylish mother on the block. However, I can try and feel better about myself. I should start by wearing less jeans and UGG boots, eat a healthy diet, work out a bit, try make up from time to time, and manicure my hands even if it last only a day. After all, a girl is like a flower, she has to be watered to feel good.

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